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ASHA and the Pan American Health Organization

Background

One of the strategic objectives under ASHA's Strategic Pathway to Excellence is to enhance international engagement by collaborating with other organizations.

In 2013, ASHA and the Pan American Health Organization Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) launched a collaboration and selected three of the PAHO's priority countries in the Latin American region that self-identified as having a need to address communication disorders: El Salvador, Guyana, and Honduras.

The ASHA-PAHO on-site assessment teams identified the needs of each country and recommended offering educational and service delivery assistance in communication disorders. To meet the identified needs, ASHA established three ad hoc committees composed of ASHA members.

Objectives

General Objective: To strengthen knowledge and build capacity of professionals and/or organizations that address communication disorders in the areas of speech, language, swallowing, and hearing.



PAHO Map - 2019

Specific Objectives:

  • In Ecuador, ASHA provides technical assistance to the Ministry of Public Health to educate service providers on communication disorders. The ad hoc committee ended on October 31, 2021.
  • In 2018–2020, in addition to providing technical assistance to countries, ASHA–PAHO/WHO will improve awareness of gaps between needs and service availability of audiology and speech-language pathology services in the region.
  • In Belize, ASHA provides technical assistance to the Ministry of Health, the Inspiration Center, and its partners to educate healthcare and community service providers about communication disorders.
  • In El Salvador, ASHA provides technical assistance to the Instituto Salvadoreño de Rehabilitación Integral (ISRI) for training and capacity-building for personnel in audiology and speech-language pathology.
  • In Guyana, ASHA provides technical assistance to the Ministry of Health to strengthen its national strategic plan for early detection and intervention of communication disorders.
  • In Honduras, ASHA provides technical assistance for the establishment of a personnel development program in phonoaudiology at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras (UNAH).
  • In Paraguay, ASHA provides technical assistance to the Ministry of Health and the National Secretariat of Human Rights for Persons with Disabilities (SENADIS) to educate professionals and parents of individuals with communication disorders.

Timeline

  • June 2021: PAHO approved ASHA’s application to renew status as NSA in official relations with PAHO for three more years (2021–2023).
  • 2019: the ASHA-PAHO collaboration added a new country, Ecuador.
  • June 2018: PAHO approved ASHA's application to renew status as a Non-State Actor (NSA) in official relations with PAHO for another three years (2018–2020).
  • 2017: ASHA participated in the WHO Rehabilitation 2030: A Call for Action. The objective of this meeting was to discuss the strategic direction for coordinating action and implementing joint commitments to increase the awareness of rehabilitation as a health strategy for all people across the lifespan and across the continuum of care.
  • 2017: the ASHA-PAHO collaboration added a new country, Belize
  • 2016: the ASHA-PAHO collaboration added a new country, Paraguay
  • 2014: ASHA became a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in official relations with PAHO.
  • The 67th World Health Assembly (May 2014) adopted a resolution endorsing the WHO Global Disability Action Plan 2014–2021: Better Health for All People with Disability. Shortly thereafter, the 53rd PAHO Directing Council (October 2014) adopted a resolution endorsing the Regional Disability and Rehabilitation Action Plan (Pan American Health Organization, 2014). Both action plans are mutually aligned and provide a road map enabling WHO member countries and international partners to work together to improve the health and human rights of the one billion people around the world with long-term and functional disabilities.

ASHA was a 2018 American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Summit Award Winner for its Country Capacity Building Initiative with PAHO/WHO. This was in the category of The Power To Make a Better World.

ASHA Corporate Partners